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RISMEDIA, June 24, 2010—Illinois home sales activity in May 2010 increased for the ninth consecutive month and it was the third month of positive year-over-year price movement in 2010. According to the Illinois Association of Realtors latest report, statewide total home sales (which include single-family and condominiums) in May 2010 were up 27.1%, totaling 11,638 homes sold compared to May 2009 sales of 9,159 homes. The median price in May 2010 was $157,000, up 0.6% from $156,000 in May 2009. The median is a typical market price where half the homes sold for more, half sold for less.

“Buying conditions remain favorable even as the home buyer tax credit has expired with mortgage interest rates hovering at historic lows combined with affordability conditions that essentially give buyers ‘more bang for their buck’ when purchasing a home in today’s market,” said Realtor Mike Onorato, GRI, president of the Illinois Association of Realtors and broker-owner of Onorato Real Estate in Coal City. “Clearly in May we saw a high volume of closed home sales transactions generated by the tax credit incentive that ended on April 30. Realtors are urging Congress to extend the closing deadline for those who qualified for the tax credit beyond June 30 as some may not be able to close their transaction in time, given the number of contracts pending and delays resulting from short sales and the appraisal process.”

In the Chicagoland Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area (PMSA), year-over-year home sales were positive for 11 consecutive months, up 33.6% to 7,580 homes sold (single-family and condominiums) in May 2010 compared to 5,673 homes sold in May 2009. The median home sale price for the Chicagoland PMSA was $190,500 in May 2010, down 4.8% from $200,000 in May 2009.

“Even though the credit for new home buyers has expired, both 30-year and 15-year mortgage rates continue to be at near record lows, providing significant incentives for homeownership. Recent data suggest that the rate of mortgage delinquencies is slowing, albeit at a high level,” said Dr. Geoffrey J.D. Hewings, director of the Regional Economics Applications Laboratory (REAL) of the University of Illinois. “There is increasing consensus that the creation of private sector jobs will probably provide the most important stimulus for the housing sector.”

Adds Hewings: “The forecasts for the next three months (June, July and August) suggest a continuation of the positive changes for sales—in the 16-25% range in Illinois and in the 19-29% range in the Chicagoland region. Price changes continue to be stubborn, with little or no movement over the three months in Illinois and declines in the 4-6% range in Chicagoland.”

The monthly average commitment rate for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage for the North Central region was 4.91% in May 2010, down from 5.17% during the previous month, according to the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. Last year in May it averaged 4.89%.

In the city of Chicago, May total home sales (single-family and condominiums) were up 32.1% to 2,057 sales compared to 1,557 homes sold in May 2009, the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year sales gains. Another positive: the city of Chicago median price in May 2010 was $230,000, up 2.2% compared to $225,000 a year ago in May 2009.

“The increase in units sold is a positive indicator that the tax credit created a more positive impact on the Chicago marketplace than the movement we saw in 2009. Additionally, the credit afforded buyers the opportunity to look at higher-priced homes, helping keep their options more affordable,” said Realtor Mabel Guzman of Century 21, S.G.R., and president-elect of the Chicago Association of Realtors. “For homes to sell, jobs need to be created in order for consumer confidence to escalate, and buyers to jump off the fence without a credit to purchase a home today.”

According to the IAR report, total home sales (single-family and condominiums) comparing May 2010 to May 2009 were up in 61 of 102 Illinois counties reporting with 47 of 102 counties posting median price increases. The following Illinois counties reported both sales and median price increases for the month: Madison County sales up 3.1%, median price up 1.8% to $117,000; McLean County sales up 4.8%, median price up 5.3% to $159,000; Peoria County sales up 25.7%, median price up 1.9% to $108,000; Saint Clair County sales up 29.9%, median price up 1.9% to $126,900; Sangamon County sales up 29.2%, median price up 7.9% to $126,750; and Will County sales up 37.5%, median price up 2.9% to $174,900.

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